18 comments on “Vraiment, vraiment

  1. And as mentioned on Schneier on Security privatising security at American airports won’t work because the airlines aren’t the customers, nor the airports, nor the passengers. The government who is the one wetting it’s pants over terrorism is the customer. Therefore introducing private security companies who are all controlled by the same customer (with stupid standards) will not stop cases where TSA agents drop a persons ashes on the floor and laugh about it.

  2. Just to point out that the state does not give a monkey’s about terrorism or if you are killed or not (so long as the polits are not in danger themselves of course). The TSA and the rest are exercises in putting the populace under more oppressive control on the way to a police state run 100% for politicals and their hangers-on.

  3. The government does give a monkey about terrorism. See how far the US went over the Twin Towers terrorist attack. If they don’t do anything about it, the electorate give them the boot for being nampy-pambys. However the current lot of governments have gone too far in trying to stop terrorism to the extent that they might get kicked out for imposing draconion controls.

    I don’t believe in the theory that they are imposing oppresive control aiming for a police state. Governments are never that good at organising anything. They can’t work their way out of the current economic mess, so what chance have they in planning for 100% state control. It’s just a side effect/unintended consequence of the government being scared.

  4. I agree about the ‘customers’ being the driving force. Unfortunately, it depends who the customers is. You have to be wary of the law of unintended consequences.

    For instance, for student education if the customer is a student who requires a degree, then the exam board/teacher/college that provides them with the easiest ‘product’ to pass is the one that they will choose.

    If you live in a crime-ridden area and you are offered the chance to elect your local police chief, then the customers are the criminals. And they will choose their candidate accordingly.

  5. Stuck-Record,

    The customers for exams are employers, not the student. If universities were simply about imparting knowledge, you could shut most of them down and people will go and read up about Wittgenstein, Marx or Scorsese in their spare time.

  6. “If you live in a crime-ridden area and you are offered the chance to elect your local police chief, then the customers are the criminals. And they will choose their candidate accordingly.”

    No, the customers will include criminals, but the customers are all the citizens, criminal and non criminal.
    I very much doubt any area is so crime ridden that the criminals for a majority and vote for a police chief who will not attempt to catch criminals.

    In any event, this is not an argument against elected Police chiefs, this is an argument against democratic choice of those who have power over us in general.

  7. Coming back to the police chief’s argument, why worry about who is in charge when you can just bribe whatever officer caught you.

    Doesn’t happen?

    Don’t be so fucking naïve, it happens everywhere, the only difference is the price.

  8. Even most criminals probably don’t want a completely inactive police. They just want them to catch other crooks.

    At a stretch there just might be the odd neighbourhood where more than half of the electorate are scrotes, but the constituency for a police chief is much bigger than that.

  9. Tim

    I’ll take your word for it. But don’t we have a system where universities are in the market for students, and are paid according to how many they can get through their doors? This, I have read, is one of the main reasons for the dumbing down of courses available at university level.

    Until that is changed how can universities afford to advertise themselves on the basis of: “Come to our university. The courses are extremely hard to pass.” Surely students will just vote with their feet and go to the place that will give them a media studies degree for turning up and quoting Gramsci?

    Chris M

    I know what you mean, but surely it is dependent on the size of the constituency. The recent election of arch-nutter George Galloway in Bradford shows that a constituency that is completely at odds with mainstream opinion can elect a criminal or lunatic to a position of authority. It doesn’t require much imagination to imagine such a region electing an Al Qaeda supporter to be in charge of the local police force.

    The well-known Inspector Gadget blog, run by a serving police inspector, is extremely scathing about the idea of elected police officials. His area, which he describes as ‘the Swamp’, has effectively passed the point of no return. The criminals, parasites, and apologists for crime effectively outnumber the Civic minded.

    I live in an area of south London where it is simply impossible to imagine a pro law and order official being elected to oversee the police. It is inconceivable. The demographic would simply not allow it.

  10. Stuck-Record, well you may well be right in a few outlier cases, and I do take your point re Galloway. However, that it may occasionally happen is the price of democracy. This argument against democratically elected police chiefs could just as readily extend to democratically elected leaders/representatives in general. The fact that occasionally the BNP or the green party might get elected in a constituency is not generally seen as a good enough reason to abandon democratic selection of MPs.

    (As an aside, this “problem” often tends to be self correcting as such nutters often only get the one term as the population realise that actually they do want a competent person in office)

  11. Chris

    “This argument against democratically elected police chiefs could just as readily extend to democratically elected leaders/representatives in general.”

    Quite.

    Maybe there should be an electoral law. You could call it the ‘Dependency curve’. Democracy ends at the point where the electorate is 51% dependant on the largesse of Govt.

    It seems to have been the unofficial aim of every socialist govt: “Increase the client state. Eventually we will win.”

  12. Stuck-Record,

    But many employers don’t distinguish between universities, they simply have decided that they want one of the top 30%, and use “graduate required” as a way to determine it. That’s different to jobs where university produces the skills that employers use, in which case, they will often have a much stronger idea about the strengths of each university.

    So, I think perhaps, you’re right. The student is the customer because in many cases they want a degree, preferably one that leaves them with plenty of social life and isn’t too hard, to demonstrate their skills.

    (it’s a lot like quality schemes like ISO9002 – companies don’t look at who did your accreditation, just that you have the stamp, which means that companies are more likely to go to the laxest accreditation companies).

  13. Stuck Record, I have no problem with only tax payers being given the vote ;-). However, that does seem a slightly different issue to the election of police chiefs. Police chiefs don’t get to set or raise taxes.

  14. Having only taxpayers vote is an attractive notion. Unfortunately, in a client state where the majority work for the government, the taxpayers will still vote for whoever will give them the most money.

    Blast.

    They will, of course, ignore the fact that their tax is not ‘real’. To paraphrase Martin Durkin, it’s just blood that’s been taken from one arm and pumped into the other one, whilst dropping half of it on the floor.

  15. Stuck Record, by “Tax Payers” I mean real tax payers, not those on benefits or the public payroll.

  16. “I live in an area of south London where it is simply impossible to imagine a pro law and order official being elected to oversee the police. It is inconceivable. The demographic would simply not allow it.”
    Now there’s a comment with fascinating implications.
    Let’s for a start split crime into two different strands. There’s crimes of disorder; vandalism, assault etc where there’s no economic benefit to the perpetrators. These crimes are , by definition,intrinsic to the area. & require more victims than perpetrators. Hence the majority should be in favour of ‘law & order’. And then there’s the crimes that do provide economic benefit to the perpetrator. And, as I mentioned on another thread, crime is no different from any other economic activity. Acquisitive crime, committed locally, requires more victims than perpetrators & there’s only two other ‘resources’. The crime is being committed outside the area with the perps using home turf as a safe haven to return to or the criminal activity is a ‘service industry’, prostitution or drug dealing would be examples, which brings in customers from outside. Unless the perpetrators & their close associates really are a dominant part of the community, the collateral problems associated with either should be unwelcome.
    And that’s why it’s fascinating. For the community to not favour law & order requires a greater attractor than relief from the problems associated with crime. About the only one strong enough is ethnic cohesion. Which puts the nail into whole multi-culturalism argument, which has been telling us for years that this does not happen. That areas & communities do not ghettoise in this way.

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